On the 19th of this month (TOMORROW FREAKING TOMORROW) I am finally going to a place I’ve been dreaming of going to for years- JAPAN! I am going with my Mum for two weeks, travelling to 3 places and trying to cram in as much as possible without killing each other or ourselves in the process. So welcome to my Japan Plan!
I fly with my Mum on the 19th October. We are flying with Emirates at 2.30 in the afternoon, with a stop over in Dubai. We land at Narita Airport at 5.35 (UK time I believe, Japan is 8 hours ahead of us.)
First Stop: Narita
We land in Narita, and we are spending two nights here: Friday 20th and Saturday 21st October. We are staying at Hotel Keisei Narita-Ekimae, which is just under 9km away from the airport. We are travelling to the airport by shuttle bus I believe (pray for us) which is roughly a ten minute journey if Google maps is not lying to us (it probably is.) We are spending two nights here to get our bearings, and to explore a shrine or two that are here. I’m super excited to explore this town, from what I’ve seen in pictures online it looks peaceful and beautiful. When Mum and I started planning our trip we decided to fly into Narita, but were unsure of if we was going to stay here for a long time or not. We originally planned to stay here long term, realised how mad we was for deciding this and decided to stay for two nights instead. The one shrine I would really, really like to go and see on one of these days is Naritasan Shinshoji. It looks beautiful from what I’ve seen online, and the gardens look amazing! There are bars and restaurants near to this shrine that are supposed to be amazing, so it would be really cool if we can check them out as well!
Second Stop: Osaka
After our few days in Narita we move onto the furthest point of our trip: Osaka! We are using the bullet train to travel to Osaka, which is going to take a goof few hours, but it is an experience. You cannot come to Japan and not use the bullet train! We are staying in Osaka from Sunday 22nd October to Wednesday 25th October at Sarasa Hotel Shinsaibashi. There are a few things that we want to do in Osaka, but the main thing we are doing is taking a day trip to Nara, and I cannot tell you how freaking excited I am about that! For years I have wanted to go to Nara and feed the tame deer that bow to you for a biscuit, and to know that I am finally going to do the one thing I’ve been wanting to do is so damn amazing. I am actually going to cry tears of happiness! Another thing that my Mum and I really want to see is Osaka Castle and the grounds around it. Osaka Castle looks beautiful and something that a lot of people that have been to Osaka recommend doing. We also plan to try and check out Minoo Park, Sumiyoshi Shrine (which we are planning on seeing on the same day that we see the castle,) and Hozenji Yokocho AKA Alleyway of Wonders. Hozenji Yokocho is something I stumbled across by accident when looking for things to do, and after seeing someone call it the Alleyway of Wonders I was intrigued! There are bars, eateries and at the end there is a statue of the kami Fudomyoo. Fudomyoo is the kami of fury, and scares people into enlightenment with his scary appearance. The statue is super mossy from all of the water that has been poured over him, and moss is repected in Japan (there’s a random fact for you!)
From Osaka we move onward to Kyoto, arriving at Japaning Hotel Kiyomizu Gojo on Wednesday 25th October, and leaving Monday 30th October. I can’t remember what part of Kyoto (North, East, South, West and Central) our hotel is based in. We intend on seeing as much as we can so I’ll break down our plan for each area we plan on visiting. We know we won’t get to see everything on this list, but we like having a variety of places to explore.
Northern Kyoto: We really want to see Kamo-Shrine, Sanzenin Temple, Takao/ wooden valley, Kibune and Kurama. Kibune and Kurama are two small villages north of Kyoto tucked up in the mountains. They are rural, supposed to be quiet, beautiful and lovely places to spend a day walking around. Takao, the shrine and the temple are another places that we are visiting for the scenery, to soak up the sights and just admire. The temple has a moss garden, and is supposed to be beautiful during the autumn season.
Central Kyoto: There is only one thing we want to see in central Kyoto, and that a market that is supposed to be huge, and just wonderful to walk around and look at. I cannot remember the exact name of what the market is called, if we do visiti I’ll make a note of the name and let you know if my follow up blog!
Western Kyoto: In western Kyoto we were to see Kokedera, which means “Moss Temple.” There are some beautiful gardens at Kokedera, but you have to reserve visiting via mail, which we didn’t realise until it was too late unfortunately.
Southern Kyoto: In southern Kyoto there are two temples and a shrine that we would love to try and see. We want to see Fushimi Shrine, which is famous for it’s torii gates, which follows trails into a wooded forest. The shrine is one of several dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Fox statues are across the ground as the foxes were thought to be Inari’s messengers. Tofukuji Temple is supposed to be beautiful to catch the autumn leaves, which we are hoping we will! Daigoji Temple is a world heritage site, and includes a whole mountain side!
Eastern Kyoto: Eastern Kyoto is home to Shinnyodo Temple, Nanzenji Temple,Eikando Temple, Gion and Higashyama district. Higashiyama is home to traditional old Kyoto, where there are narrow lanes, wooden buildings and traditional merchat shops lining the streets. I am really hoping we get to explore this district!We want to visit the temples for beautiful scenery, but Eikando is especially famous for how beautiful it looks in the Autumn season, and its evening illuminations. Gion is a famous geisha district filled with ochaya (teahouses,) shops and restaurants where Geishas (geiko in Kyoto dialect) and maiko (geiko apprenntices) entertain.
Whilst we are in Kyoto we also want to try and attend a tea ceremony, try on Kimonos and visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove if we have the chance. I know there is a lot on this list, but I want to let you know just how much there is to possibly explore in this area if you are wanting to visit Kyoto. There are so many temples, shrines and traditional areas to explore, it’s really difficult to chose where to visit!
The final stop: Tokyo!
From Kyoto we will travel to our final place on our visit: Tokyo! You cannot come to Japan and not experience Tokyo! We will book into Hotel Wing International Select Asakusa Komagata (yes, seriously that is the name) on Monday 30th October until the day we fly back home, that being Monday 2nd November. IT MEANS WE’RE IN TOKYO FOR HALLOWEEN BABY! One of the main reasons I wanted to come to Tokyo is that my friend is living in one of the small town areas in Tokyo with his wife, anad apart from the flying visit from him just over a week ago, its been two years since I’ve seen them! We’re hopefully going to meet up, get drunk and he’s going to show us around some cool little placces and areas he has found in his time living there. The one thing I really, REALLY want to do is visit the Pokemon Centre. I am a little pokè nerd, and I’ve been wanting to visit one of these shops since I found out that they existed! My Mum wants to visit the Metro Politician Government Building Observation rooms, which is supposed to be real neat for getting good views across Tokyo! We have no plan set in stone for what we are doing to do, I think we are going to see what is going on around us! We’re staying in Asakusa, which is a quiet part of old Tokyo, and according to my friend, is going to be lovely for seeing things that are off the tourist track and finding things that not everyone will see. We decided to stay here as it isn’t in the middle of the madness, and for how close it is to my friend. We don’t have a set plan for Halloween either, again we are going to see what is happening around us. The only thing we didn’t want to do for Halloween is spend it in an area that was going to crazy and have people packed in like Sardines. No thank you! I am so excited to spend Halloween in Japan however, and check out all of the cute lil Halloween decorations, just experience something different and spend either Halloween or the day after with my friend.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my Japan Plan, I’ll be posting a follow up blog with pictures (expect ALL OF THE PICTURES) that I will more than likely post in two parts.
See you in two weeks friends!
Peace and light